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Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Paul McCartney's Long-Lost Christmas Album Surfaces Online

Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

If you’re one-quarter of the biggest musical act in the world, what do you get your bandmates for the holidays? For Paul McCartney, the answer was to compile and narrate a mix tape of songs just for his fellow members of The Beatles. Completed in 1965, he only made three copies of his original tape—one for each of his bandmates. But the low-quality discs he used for the copies wore out quickly, and the album was thought to be lost to history. Not anymore, as The Huffington Post reports.

A dub of the record, Unforgettable, recently surfaced on YouTube. In a kind of personalized DJ session, the 18-minute recording features McCartney sharing experimental tracks as well as songs from Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, and others.

According to McCartney, the reason for the album’s disappearance was that the acetate discs he used to make the copies of the original tape were of poor quality and rotted easily. And it seems the band wasn't terribly invested in preserving the album, either. According to one Beatles catalog site, John Lennon re-recorded over one part of McCartney's original tape.

At some point, though, someone in the band’s inner circle made a tape dub of the album, which passed through the hands of private collectors. The YouTube video apparently isn’t a complete sample, but at least something survived. You can listen to it below.

[h/t The Huffington Post]

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holidays
40 Years Later: Watch The Johnny Cash Christmas Show
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Over the course of his career, Johnny Cash made a series of Christmas TV specials and recorded a string of Christmas records. In this 1977 TV performance, Cash is in great form. He brings special guests Roy Clark, June Carter Cash, The Carter Family, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison ("Pretty Woman" starts around 23:50), Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers. Tune in for Christmas as we celebrated it 40 years ago—with gigantic shirt collars, wavy hair, and bow ties. So many bow ties.

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Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

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